Chatting With...John Fraser About Dovetail's New Menu, Expansion

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Photo by Emilie Baltz
John Fraser has helmed the kitchen at critically acclaimed Dovetail since its opening in late 2007. Fraser is known for changing his menu with the seasons, and he's just added a slew of new dishes, such as lobster sausage and pork belly with black-eyed peas, calamari, and mustard.

Tell us about your new menu--what did you add or change, and why?

Our menu is constantly evolving with the availability of local and seasonal items. It's important for the cooks to be challenged, and new dishes are a great way to do that -- our collaboration creates a great vibe of ownership in the kitchen as well. We also have a huge contingent of regular diners. They love to see what the kitchen is up to. My favorite dish at the moment is the baby pig. We are serving it four ways, with peaches and celery. Super intense flavors, varying textures, and light on the palate.

Click through to find out about Fraser's plans for Dovetail's expansion, a new tasting menu, where he goes after hours, and what's in his fridge.

What are your goals for the restaurant in the near future?

We are planning to expand the physical space of Dovetail. I'm really excited to realize the full potential of this restaurant and of the staff's talent. Right now we are a size 42 wearing a size 28 -- it's restraining.

Is there a story behind Dovetail's name?

It's a desire rather than a story. So often there are many ideals that guide a restaurant and it's goals become confusing. We try to have a seamless style and point of view from entry to exit.

What's the most useful skill you learned under Thomas Keller?

Tenacity and discipline

How do you source your seafood, and do you follow the increasing interest in sustainability? Skate is sometimes on your menu, a fish that's in steep decline--do you plan to look for substitutes?

Very often there are gaps in local fishing because of holidays or weather, so we look to standbys to get us through.

Any plans right now for a second restaurant?

Right now, we are focused on maintaining Dovetail's standards. We are still establishing ourselves, and with the expansion in space the guests' comfort will go way up. We will also be putting together a 12-course tasting menu, slightly more progressive in style. It's going to be an exciting winter, a Dovetail renaissance.

Where do you go to eat or drink after-hours or on your day off?

I like to stay in the neighborhood: Fatty Crab, Bar Cibo, Bettola

What's in your fridge at home?

Champagne and condiments.

Drink of choice?

Riesling in the summer.

What's an underappreciated ingredient that more people should use?

Fruit in savory dishes



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